Home » CND Intersessional Meeting, 24 October 2018: Alternative development and crop control strategies

CND Intersessional Meeting, 24 October 2018: Alternative development and crop control strategies

CND Intersessional Meeting, 24 October 2018: Alternative development and crop control strategies

Chair – Welcome. Our topic today is alternative development (AD); regional, interregional and international cooperation on development-oriented balanced drug control policy; addressing socioeconomic issues;  International cooperation on eradicating the illicit cultivation of crops used for the production of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and on alternative development; Crop control strategies, including inter alia: alternative development and, where appropriate preventive alternative development programs; eradication; law enforcement measures. We will continue the discussion from yesterday after we are done with today’s topic.

(panel) UNODC – Before I get into my main part, let me touch on the fundamental pillars of alternative development coupled with law enforcement and eradication. Since UNGASS, alternative development is again recognized as a fundamental part and we are fully aligned to this. 2009 for us was a pinnacle in the evolution of the concept. We looked at how it developed since the ‘88 convention and we see a turning point in the number of elements in the declaration of 2009. What I would like to highlight from the declaration are elements that are cross cutting and underline our work: it is a long-term endeavor, we have to have special attention to the environment, we have to watch out for proper sequencing, to access land, to market access and market-driven products, we have to have assessment mechanisms in place, a south-south cooperation, and respect gender specifics. You are asking farmers to do something they have never done before, so you need to provide them with an infrastructure and involve private sector, marginalized communities, various stakeholders, etc. gender-specific conversations on site visits. I refer to these specific points today, but there are many other important facets. I also want to mention the 2013 UN Guiding Principles on AD endorsed by the General Assembly. This is not a one-size-fits-all this, there are many elements that apply to many environments, so this is a very important document when we discuss alternative development. The UNGASS outcome document have reiterated AD within the international drug control, broadened the scope of development assistance, highlighted AD as a conciliatory and community cohesion strategy along with crop reduction and it challenges us to think outside the box. It helped enshrine that this is a means for reconciliation and a way to promote cohesion. Good alternative development programs really lead to peace. Some colleagues approached me to ask how we work on the field. The principle to this is the existence of basic security, strong governance, rule of law. So basically, a legal framework, being engaged in the local community, cooperation with the international community, understanding the markets are critical. (video)

(panelist) Jean-Christophe Galland – We saw a video about a community transitioning from poppy cultivation to coffee in Myanmar. It is a key issue to set up the infrastructure involving all stakeholders. Malongo is a family business since 1934, a leader in France on the fair-trade coffee market. We are a private company and got invested in alternative development programs with the UNODC. Because of global warming, we expect coffee production to turn upside down and we need strong partners in the south who are able the quality and quantity we need. We struggle with securing wages that our partners can make a living of, when the prices are set in New York, far removed from the realities of the trade. We want to build a sustainable supply chain. Fair trade is an economic model, the EU applied this since decades with success. The buyer pays 60% in advance to the cooperative to buy coffee cherries – the pre-financing system is key to this set-up. We have a clear policy to protect the environment. With poppy, when the land is exhausted, they move… so growing coffee in a conscious way is good for the environment. Looking at the end of the supply chain, we committed ourselves to buy. The cornerstone for us is quality – an oligopoly is dominating the market, but we can guarantee the quality and certification of our product. We commit without having guarantee for quality, but we are working on providing tools for the farmers to produce up to standard products.  https://www.unodc.org/southeastasiaandpacific/en/myanmar/2017/12/myanmar-coffee-project/story.html

Pakistan – Thanks for the example on public-private partnership. We have related questions. Chief of the sustainable livelihood unit: how many programs are ongoing in which UNODC is involved? 10 years back, we committed to significantly reducing illicit cultivation, what is UNODC’s assessment? Are the practical projects of UNODC sufficient and fruitful enough? How can we close the gap between our documents and implementation?

Egypt – I have a naïve question, given the untraditional approach to AD, which focuses on urban settings and has a more holistic approach – where do you draw the line between AD and sustainable development? How do international donors deal with that?

Germany – It will not come as a surprise that we are satisfied that this topic found its place in this meeting. We really thank the panelists. As growing of drugs has to do with criminal organizations – how much political support of the concerned country is required?

Ecuador – With regard to AD, we have a complicated geographical situation, we are applying the concept preventive AD. The actions undertaken in urban areas can be preventive? UNODC could develop something preventive.

(panel) UNODC – In response to Pakistan, I need to be straightforward and say we are not as ambitious as we want to be. We have active programs in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Lao. As the World Drug Report has clearly identified, these programs have dwindled recently. We would like to be more ambitions in scope but have less ambitions in terms of use of our resources and what we offer the communities. We have to consolidate the program before involving new communities – we’d like to do more, but we need more resources. We couldn’t keep the project going without donors, so I would like to thank the governments of Germany for stepping up …and Luxembourg. It’s not just us who need financial assistance, the international financial institutions should really step in to help these processes and governments to involve AD in their strategies. The communities we saw on the video are content, but just a few kilometers away, you could meet other ones where people are disillusioned as they don’t get any support and don’t understand why…
AD is part of the sustainable development strategy, so to Egypt, they do overlap – it is not naïve at all. It is a specific term that changes an entire lifestyle of the farmers, but the approaches are the same. Thanks to Germany for the financial and political support.
As for preventive measures, I know the Ecuadorian proposal in this regard – we have to identify what parts of those we can implement.

USA – In 2014, ECOSOC hosted a high-level segment to serve as a bridge between 2009 and 2016. Maybe that is why both address AD. It seems as though we are looking at the same challenges – information and measurement. Do you have any suggestion to better work with donors and inform them of the real needs? Do you have long-term sustainability measurements?

Morocco – AD involves changes in process and mentalities, so we need to carry out multidimensional activities, including stakeholders like civil society, private sector, governments need to be involved. The role of the state is crucial and local knowledge, social nature of communities. We need to promote the use of substitute products and putting in place an international tool to product AD result products to be traded. What is the UNODC’s vision on this?

Afghanistan – Based on your experience, why households decide to cultivate drugs? Do these differ in different cultures? How do you adapt to these? Who does the assessment of the projects? Are they based on outcome or output?

(panel) UNODC – Some questions deal with the same issues so let’s start with information and measurement. My colleague from the research branch will discuss monitoring, but it’s fair to say we have very little information on a longitudinal basis. That is why 2019 is important, now we can do satellite imagery easily, but this doesn’t measure a whole host of HDIs. UNODC has put a lot of stock to develop a monitoring system. We have had good baseline information when we started, but now we were able to put together a strategy for assessment, though they are not as longitudinal as we wish, hopefully in 10 years, we will have more to discuss.
Households engage in illicit cultivation for a wide range of reasons, it differs from country to country and even within communities.
Our donors do our financial evaluation and our research branch does the other assessments.
In the marketing strategy there are certain elements that are critical, and Jean Christoph is able to answer in more detail.
The cannabis laws on Cannabis make it difficult for us to engage with donors in this area, which is really a shame as huge social problems are posed in Africa as a result. It is a complex problem, it is not only about changing crops, and it’s about changing minds, a paradigm shifts towards decent security.

Algeria – Good morning. We appreciate all this AD work. Of all project undertaken by UNODC in the field of AD, how do you relate farmers abandoning coffee plantations to revert to illicit cultivation?

(panel) UNODC – Tough question. There is probably a small percentage of farmers who have reverted… the reasons, I would assume [inaudible] there is no immediate means of making a living. Opium is an annual crop, it is quick and secure money. If they don’t own their land, they feel less invested in the long-term. I think it’s about socioeconomic issues mainly. Most participants in our projects have understood what this project can yield. Kids want football fields, they want basic social services and that is what you don’t get by illicit cultivation. It requires the commitment of governments to provide livelihood until the returns.

Chair – We will now take a look at a video from UNDP Afghanistan
(video) Afghanistan – We are the biggest producer of opium. There have been various attempts to address this with mixed results. An AD project that I think is unique to national or global programs is CBARD, a Community-Based Agriculture and Rural Development project – funded by the US International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Agency and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock. One of our key successes is community mobilization, which makes the project more likely to sustain as we reached people who we failed before. We have daily requests as opposed to finding it difficult to build rapport with civil society earlier. High value crops that can compete with opium are grape, pomegranates, etc. So, what do the farmers do until their crops provide them a living? So, our package includes kitchen crops for example.

(panel) Peru – I am not going to talk about the Peruvian specifics, but a summary of discussions of expert group meeting on AD from June. AD has been recognized as more of a sustainable strategy to tackle the world drug program. The UN guiding principles on AD provide an opportunity to include in the global drug control agenda, this began in 2009. The scope used to be limited to the substitution of crops, but it developed… we’ve broken down our topics to some general aspects: diversifying licit sources of income, determining why communities get involved in illicit cultivation, SDG connection – include it in broader regional development agendas as AD contributes directly to the SDGs, multi-agency and multi-disciplinary cooperation, AD require political will and government commitment as well as long term financing. The experts identified the need for better strategic coordination and coherency, a more balanced approach when it comes to the criminalization of drugs, promoting economic growth, social inclusion, etc. The experts stress the importance of recognizing socio-economic differences, bearing in mind human rights and gender-aspects. Environment: inappropriate use of natural resources is often linked to illicit cultivation, so in the transition to licit cultivation a focus on the protection of environment is important. There is also a need to undertake more research to identify all and underlying factors. For a number of people, illicit cultivation was the only option, there is advocacy for greater investigation and better understanding of the situation to make sure appropriate interventions are applied. Impact valuation has to evolve, taking into account all aspects and have human beings in focus. Urban context or non-traditional settings, changing trends have to be recognized. Differentiated programs are needed as there was opposing opinions in our groups, we had debates on separate paradigms. Coalitions, governments, civil society, the private sector need to collaborate. There is no agreement or recommendation coming out from the expert group. The EGM was convened in response to the 61st CND and there will be a more extensive report next March.
In 2009 we committed to significantly reducing the illicit cultivation of crops, now on the global level we are far from achieving this despite the many cases of success (AD has shown real notable success). I have seen on field visits actual lives that have been improved. We have to start focusing on human beings over plants.

Afghanistan – Addressing the previous video?

Chair – Maybe later.

(panel) Germany – GPDPD by GDZ promoted health-oriented approaches to drug policy. Germany has been engaged in this effort and we created the German alternative development approach where we address root causes, and we go beyond illicit crops to take a look at the reasons, like underlying conflicts, poverty, etc. The interventions aim to reduce dependence on illicit trade. It is not right to only measure our success on the reduction of hectares, but look at human factors, like family income, literacy, etc. By focusing on long term development, as an outcome we will reduce crops. This needs long term political commitment, a vision, and broad promotion across stakeholders. With a view to promote those coalitions, GPDPD we have recommendation.
Implementation of the UNGASS outcome document for AD and development-oriented drug policies. There has been an explicit recommendation for CDN to contribute to the 2030 agenda. Our view AD is the bridge between drug control goals and SDGs. In both 2009 and 2016, as well as 2013 guiding principles, the importance of including environmental protection has been stressed – we developed an infographic that shows the links. It is not easy to determine what a human rights-based approach means, so we mostly rely on international human rights laws and consultations with local communities.  The funding crisis has been mentioned before me, so I think it’s important and could be useful to look at AD’s contribution to the SDGs.

Iran – How does cultivation affect the three items that have been mentioned a number of times this morning: human rights, genders issue, and environment. The shortfall of funding is a main problem, but I saw in the video that for Afghanistan, NGOs played huge roles. What is the plan to involve them more to speed up the implementation of processes?

Germany – On the funding challenge, we are talking about UN reform and the whole UN family trying to help on-the-ground work. Is there a signal that HLMS will strengthen our efforts in AD? AD is not only about crop control, are there chances to inscribe this outside of UNODC context?

Afghanistan – The afghan video said people were hesitant to cooperate in the beginning – have you ever faced similar issues?

(panel) Germany – All those aspects are very negatively affected as you rightly pointed it out, Iran. This is the reason we promote AD in these regions. Traditional gender roles are reinforced by illicit cultivation culture, the state of human rights is concerning. This is part of tackling the root cause.
About your question regarding funding. Good approach and completely in line, as I said we need government support and broad collations, without CSO voice in the design, we won’t have success.
I have not had the experience of hesitant participation, people really wait for economic alternatives and have their own ideas. OF course, there is a level of skepticism, but involving communities in all stages and putting people in focus, listening, consulting, coming up with alternatives together really makes sense, so I have not had a negative experience.
To respond to my colleagues from Germany, maybe the signal is that AD works. Where there are sufficient resources, the outcomes are really impressive in terms of overall development. We cooperate with various agencies to have more data.

(panel) Thailand – I am joining the previous speakers in highlighting the growing significance of AD. In recent years, there were important moments, including the 2013 guidelines, the SDGs, and the 2016 outcome document. The approach needs to be human-centered, empowering communities in all aspects and not just statistics on short term crop reduction. […]

Pakistan – I personally had a chance to witness Thailand doing great work in the area of AD. I want to touch on the debate on taking AD to urban settings. I think we have to be realistic and one thing that UNODC has emphasized: even traditional AD is facing resource constraints, so we have to have a candid reflection on this. The point I’m trying to make is that we shouldn’t stretch ourselves. Of course, the landscape is changing, and we have a challenge of synthetic drugs, but we can’t say plant-based drugs are fully addressed.

(panel) Thailand – We always look at AD as a broader development strategy, so I think we have to integrate urban AD into national strategies so to finance the projects comprehensively. We need to respond to the realities of each country as they exist.

(panel) VNGOC

Austria – Could you explain the EU involvement in the projects? UNOC aid ambitions can be higher, please be assured Austria remains committed. How do you see the involvement of the private sector? Are they more attracted if governments are invested? I am interested in the synergies?

Germany – There simply can’t be drug policy that doesn’t respect human rights. It has been mentioned on many occasions that there is a shortage of funding. Would you find it useful if we invite to these spaces more members of the business community? Do you think we should engage them here?

(panel) NGO – We have looked at the possibilities in working with the private sector, Malongo is definitely a positive example. There must be very specific conditions for private companies to further expand their involvement. We see good opportunities and documented some of the negative examples and consequences. We are looking at emerging licit spaces in the Cannabis world and the takeover of big companies and the risks of pushing out small farmers.

(panel) Thailand – I think involving the private sector is very useful and we have been working with some companies. They emphasize a lot on quality and there is some emphasis on social responsibility.

Chair: Norway cannot be here in the afternoon, so I allow him to deliver his statement on supply reduction.

Norway – Madame chair, thank you for giving us the floor in order to contribute to the discussion on this 4th intersessional meeting and to come up with some of our views. Since this is the first time my delegation takes the floor, I would also like to thank yesterdays, the day before and today’s panel for setting the stage in an excellent way, thank you all for your contributions.  (The presentations from the panel-participants have facilitated an active and interactive discussion, also with a view to the 62nd session of the CND.) Our statement will cover supply reduction, discussed on day one, and also some of the topics we already have and are going to discuss today. In view of the latest World drug report 2018 I would like to quote some sentences stated in booklet 2 of this report: “Opium production is at its highest level since UNODC monitoring began and cocaine manufacture is at its highest ever level”. “Cultivation of both, opium poppy and coca bush show a marked increase”. “Marked increases in quantities of amphetamine-type stimulants, cocaine, plant-based new psychoactive substances and sedatives seized”. The report contains even more sentences and figures that makes everyone reading the report concerned, and we should ask ourselves whether the way we attack the problem “supply reduction” is the best way to go. For example is eradication of areas used for cultivation, as a figure, maybe not a proper way to show results, having in mind that the efficiency of how much can be grown on each hectares is rising, nearly simultaneously with the destruction. And if, I say if, the eradication will lead to a significant decrease of cultivation areas in certain countries and the price for opium poppy and coca bushes will double or triple, there still will be so much to gain in the value creation chain, that a dealer in Norway, and the whole criminal network behind, is still earning a lot of money. Saying that, Norway will off course still contribute to development in several countries, both with knowledge and financially contribution, something we’ve always done in a larger scope. But the time is maybe ready to think new and in a different manner, to solve the challenges, especially farmers and small municipalities and communities are facing in many of the drug cultivation areas. As a representative of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security to talk only about supply reduction will truly not solve the challenges. It is actually the combination of both, demand reduction and supply reduction that brings success. And therefor I would like to talk about what is going on in my home country these days. Norway is in a process of formally changing the authorities’ response regarding the use of drugs and the possession for personal use,  from punishment to health, treatment and follow-up. We will transfer the responsibility for such drug related issues from judicial authorities to the health- and social sector. Norway will not legalize the use and possession of drugs for personal use, but decriminalization does not prevent to have more focus on harm reduction efforts. Punishment for drug use or drug possession does not have a significant preventive effect on drug users, in order to prevent new crime, and is therefore counterproductive. The reasoning behind the drug reform is a recognition that substance use is essentially a health challenge. Criminal prosecution of use and possession of illicit drugs for personal use has contributed to stigmatization, marginalization and social exclusion and may have prevented individual users from having appropriate and customized health services and follow-up. The Attorney General of Norway has in priority circular in recent years stated that the focus should be on serious drug offences, and that investigative efforts should be directed against criminal networks to identify drug traffickers on higher level and confiscate profit. Efforts against the user environment, as a main activity, should be to prevent new recruitment and to get information about serious drug violations, and not be used to achieve greater numbers regarding statistics in the field of less serious narcotic offenses. I should maybe mentioning that in our country the Attorney General is an independent body within the judicial system and therefore cannot be used for political purposes. His statements are based on current  legislation, court decisions, knowledge and field experience. The Attorney General priorities have been followed up by the police. Criminal cases related to drug use and drug possession for own use, pursuant to the Medicines Act, stating the criminal liability for such offenses, have decreased by more than 30 % since 2014.  In recent years, it is therefore more common for prosecutors to use “waiver of prosecution with conditions” as a possible reaction regarding use and possession of drugs for personal use, especially with regard to young people between the ages of 15 and 18, but also up to 25 years. In this context and where possible, police resources, in this way set free, will better be used to raise efforts against those who are selling drugs to prevent and investigate street sale in a larger scope. I would like to say a few more words about prevention. The main strategy for the Norwegian police is and will be to prevent crime, especially among young people or in cases regarding the misuse of younger people. Prevention of substance abuse and related crime must be seen in conjunction. The police will therefore always cooperate closely with other actors, such as health authorities and municipalities, to help drug users and thereby prevent crime. It is a priority task for the police to prevent recruitment of young people into environments, using or selling drugs. By doing so, demand reduction and supply reduction will go hand in hand and complement each other. And we think this strategies will lead to lower demand and hereby influence the supply side and figures. Let me at the end, and having in mind day one, also say that. From our perspective, it is important that we continue discussing the death penalty in the CND and the CND-environment. Norway participated with the Ambassador at the important side event on Drug-related offences, justice responses and the use of the death penalty yesterday. We will continue to argue for the abolishment of the death penalty for all crimes, including drug related crime. Having also in mind, and by pointing to newest information from the High Commissioner for Human Rights we deeply regret that people are being executed because of none violent drug related crime also in this week, and while we are discussing this issue here in Vienna. Thank you for your attention and good luck for the rest of our meeting.


Chair – Morning session adjourned.



Chair – Welcome back, we will continue with the presentations.

(panel) Sri Lanka – We’ve been listening for two days that certain groups of plants are harmful. But they can provide very important biomolecules and we should not ignore their potential use in medicine. We have an increasing number of Cannabis users and some use it for medicinal reasons. The problem is we have addicts among teenagers. 65% increase of global opium production and similarly significant trend can be found regarding cocaine. Our prospective is that Cannabis always come first, and we observed that there exist many channels from various countries for it to get in the country. The drivers to illicit cultivation are very diverse, we don’t have strict findings. Strategies to suppress illicit cultivation are crop eradication, AD, awareness raising, law enforcement measures.  On this map, we can see on the countryside, Cannabis is dominant, but other kinds of drugs are prevailing too. Law enforcement techniques include mechanic and manual destruction, aerial or manual spraying, burning, aerial fumigation, pest resistance, biological control. AD: we introduced income-generating alternatives as economic necessity tends to play an important role in a farmer’s decision on whether to engage in illicit crop cultivation. Income generation alternatives need to be viable and sustainable in order to decrease dependence on illicit crop cultivation. We have to work on enhancing marketing options and reduce some of the vulnerabilities related to illicit crop cultivation. Long-term political and financial support is essential. We have to educate the farmers, set-up subsidiary programs and be knowledgeable about alternative cash crops.
Pakistan: What is the average duration of your programs?

(panel) Sri Lanka – We want to see results quickly, so the initially the presidential task force had a target of 3 years and we are half way. We think based on the pilot project, we can go into 5-10-year long projects.

China: Implementation of AD – is it successful? Do you have a case we can look at?

(panel) Sri Lanka – We come up with KPIs to measure success and saw that the number of criminal cases is significantly reduced and the number of students in schools has increased. Substitute programs are in place for families without basic income and they receive financial support which means success.

(panel) UNODC – Thank you for bringing this project forth. This just shows there are many initiatives we might not be aware of. Some of the experience we had points to difficultly contain coca plantations, so I encourage you to further explore the control measures. With the GPDPD, we have a component on supporting states such as Sri Lanka to improve their capacity and exchange lessons. I hope to have a conversation with you afterwards.

(panel) Thailand – Royal Project Foundation – We are a Thai NGO; the project was initiated by the King in 1969. Our initiative was improving the lives of people where there were no government services. Opium cultivation was widespread. Our activities consist of 3 parts: research, development extension, and marketing. We emphasize a lot on vegetables and fruits – we worked with ca. 42 thousand families. The farmers’ income that was generated on licit cultivation was ca. EUR 15million. Our research found that vegetables, field crops, herbs and mushrooms are lucrative alternatives even in the shorter term. In the long-term, we found fruits, tea and coffee to be good options. We also encourage farmers to provide homestays to enhance tourism. Our experience was shared internationally and about half a million people are visiting our projects.

Germany – I am ignorant on the issue. Is there no production of drugs in the area where alternative crops have been introduced?

(panel) Thailand – When we started the project 1000 hector and now less than 300 hectares.

(panel) UNODC – Good afternoon. There had several questions directed at us, some arose in the morning, that we can’t respond to. We have global data on AD but lack a lot of information. We are trying to improve our evidence base at different levels. We are looking for indicators to be able to report on change trends. We are looking at differences within countries – why is illicit cultivation prevalent in some areas and not in other? We lead projects in Afghanistan for proper impact assessment. IF the beneficiaries are happy, that is good, but we also have to know what they/we did and how, collect reliable data. With the kind support of Germany, we are looking to establish the number of households with illicit cultivation and the number of beneficiaries of AD projects. We cannot do that yet. In the context of ARQ revision, we also examine AD and see where we can target better and report better. In the context of monitoring, we also do socioeconomic surveys. We changed our processes ad produce reports on socioeconomic aspects and try to explain how AD aids peace and security. In the case of Afghanistan, we try to highlight how illicit crops hinder SDGs. The value of the opiate economy equals to the licit agriculture sector now which is really worrying. If the illicit economy exists, you have a weakening of the rule of law and degradation of the licit economy. We want to engage other partners to have more development. On the drivers of illicit cultivation and the link to peace and security, there is a clear difference between villages where you have poppy growing and where there isn’t. Without poppy, the villagers feel safer. We usually ask about government control – this is abstract and based on local perception, but if there is poppy growing, there seems to be less government control. We were thinking, how can we measure regional development, so we linked each SDG to a set of questions, we then gave values to it from 0-10. Opioid growing villages report worse environmental indicators and climate shocks. Regarding impact assessment, we use mixed methods, socioeconomic surveys, remote sensing data collection; consumer and household questionnaires, women focus groups, community leaders’ interview. We try to link crop growing to a whole set of socioeconomic data, this information serves as a baseline as well as to the project implementer to understand their beneficiaries.

Afghanistan – I especially welcome this idea because after 15 years of being engaged in various program in Afghanistan, we need to know where the lessons are. Context is important, different countries have different needs. We have spent a huge amount of money and there are poorer regions that are less engaged in cultivation of poppy. We have reports that we achieved counterproductive results. For example, we have a recent data that you just mentioned, our province produces less, and the capital city of the Taliban are the problem. We believe poverty is one of the root causes of illicit cultivation. So, what is the problem from your perspective, why haven’t we been successful in our provinces? Did we choose wrong projects for our people? Maybe they just see poppy growers receiving so much support and are motivated just to get support. What do you think?

(panel) NGO – It was mentioned that the licit economy is stimulated by the illicit economy in certain areas. Is there a positive relationship between the two economies?

(panel) UNODC – If I knew the solution, I would not sit here, but thank you for the question, Afghanistan. If we think about the graph I showed you, we see that the farmers themselves are influenced and not feel secure. So, they might feel they have no one to count on and are more tempted to grow illicit crops. In other provinces, we do assessments and I am not sure previous interventions in that problematic region had done their due diligence. We wand AD to be included in the broader national plan because if communities who are not included with illegal activities are not helped…what are we saying with that? If you have a national plan, it is not an easy task, but can aim to reach everybody.
On the illicit economy’s positive impact on the licit economy, we looked at financial flows and indeed there can be, especially in the shorter term, positive effects. We see the main negative factor that the illicit economy is not integrated into the legal context, into national services. In the long term we haven’t seen positive impacts. Opium has many functions. Shopkeepers can lend things because they know people have the opium to pay for it, so it become currency in a sense. It impacts laborers, the whole economy.

Afghanistan – Thank you for this answer. After spending millions of dollars of our allies, we feel it could have been spent in a more efficient way. So, in the future, we shall plan learning from previous lessons. We cannot forget that large part of the population lives under the poverty line and we have been in conflict for a number of years. When the Taliban and drug lords come to towns, they convince people that small smuggling jobs, drug cultivation, etc. are not against their belief system, so if people are poor enough, they are easy to recruit.

Chair – for the sake of time, I would like to start the debate on AD. Once we are finished with this, we can debate supply reduction. Countries are now welcome to make national statements.

Columbia – AD is important to us. Our president confirms that areas under coca cultivation fueled organized crime groups. We are committed to break up these groups, logistic chains and structures, hand-in-hand with communities involved. The 2017 WDR notes that our projects transited from the eradication of crops approach to a broad monitoring system and UNODC in fact had this system in place for years. Recent reports indicated that the challenges are multiple. Constitutional presence and respect for law has to be present parallel. Transformation of land makes stepping towards peace more effective. In the cultivation of opium, poppy and coca would not happen if people had alternatives so for example in Colombia, AD went through various stages and achieved unforeseen results. We developed a strategy that counters illicit drugs seed and a substitution program. We monitor effected areas and nation-wide programs are rolled out in priority areas accordingly. The communities who subscribe to the program commit to not being involved in any work, the trade and the market of illicit drugs. We are accompanied on this by the UNODC. Over 76 thousand families are involved now… but a large number of them are still not fully complied. As established by INCB, countries are receiving support for voluntary substitution. In addition to this, we are attempting to address enforced crop substitution. The USA agreed to cooperate on a 5-year plan with the aim of turning the increasing trend back. We carry out our part of AD.

Russia – AD is a crucial component in addressing the world drug problem and is clearly reflected in the outcome document of 2016. In order to achieve these targets, there is a need to put these the guidelines into practice. We welcome the July expert group meeting. We carried out trainings on agricultural methods including addressing decease. We hope that by 2020, we will secure a wide rejection of being involved with drugs cultivation and cover 3 thousand hectares. We listened with interest to the panelists today and we are certain that AD should have a clear ecological component and should restore the environment damaged by drug cultivation. We advocate for a world free of drugs, violence and inequality.

Ecuador – There is a need to address the socioeconomic factors of the drugs problem and we believe we should coordinate in an integrated way on cross cutting issues. Comprehensive interventions have to be developed, including sectors of education and health, ensure community security, recreation and sport. In this regard we will continue to promote sustainable development in rural and urban areas that are affected by illicit activities. Our aim is to assist the population and include them in program to strengthen the social fabric in an environmentally balanced way. It is urgent to reaffirm the AD in a broader context of development. The objective is to address the world drug program with AD in a way that’s complementary to national security. Go beyond supply and demand is vital, people be put at the heart and not substances & respect for human rights.

China – We support the efforts of UNODC to be innovation-oriented attitude. Against the backdrop of the 2030 targets, we invested in AD and worked with the governments of 2 neighboring countries in line with local needs and aiding the livelihoods of farmers. China has conducted with Myanmar for 11 and with Laos 6 years a monitoring project regarding poppy cultivation, outside investigation and worked them on annual reports. We hope that the CND, UNODC and the international community pays attention to the severe situation in the golden triangle and play a more active and flexible role to promotes intelligence sharing. We call on the community for multilateral support and information sharing. We appeal to all countries to strike a balance between the rights of offenders and wider society and carry out law enforcement accordingly

Iran – I have a five-page speech prepared for me, but I am not a diplomat and I understand that on the ground, things are 90 % different than they seem in negotiations. Actions are louder than words, but here are a few thoughts. The most important factor is money and we experienced that we must have solid strategies and be people centered.

Chair – Thank you to the Iranian delegate. I will now give the floor to the delegate of Morocco.

Morocco – We would like to reemphasize the spearhead of the intersessional meeting. Morocco has been committed to eradicating the cultivation of cannabis since 2003; the year of the first survey of cultivation of cannabis was published. Objective is to reduce areas of cultivation

Since this we have seen a 65% reduction which is reported in INCB report. In parallel Morocco is continuing to undertake multi-dimensional activities to create change in socioeconomical development programs. We have begun projects which seek to have a positive effect on other sectors particular to the socioeconomical development of the region as a whole.

In particular, we have seen a positive effect in the cultivation of this crop. The Green Morocco 2020 plan seeks to move towards less hazardous agricultural effects. The INDH launch in 2005 seeks to combat this deficit. Numerous projects have been established to encourage capacity building. They seek to give access to basic structures such as education, health and access to water. In 2009 Morocco consolidated the progress made in the illicit cultivation of cannabis.

Chair – Thank you. I would now like to give the floor to the representative from OHCHR.

OHCHR – Madam Chair, thank you for allowing me to take the floor to present a brief statement on alternative development on behalf of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

This week, 22-26 October, is the UN Week and today we mark the adoption of the Charter of the United Nations.

The United Nations, its bodies, agencies and Member States are bound by overarching obligations under articles 1, 55 and 56 of the Charter to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

During today’s discussion, human rights and fundamental freedoms have been at the centre of many of the presentations of the panellists. OHCHR welcomes their presentations.

In July 2018, upon invitation from UNODC and other organisers, OHCHR participated at the Expert Group Meeting on Alternative Development, organised in Vienna pursuant to Resolution 61/6 of this Commission. We sincerely appreciate that OHCHR was invited to participate in the discussion on alternative development.

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Alternative Development, of 2013, provides that alternative development should take place “taking into account the promotion and protection of human rights”.  In accordance with the Outcome Document of UNGASS 2016, alternative development projects should also aim to promote and protection human rights.

Colombia – Colombia is carrying out the project of alternative development. However, the effort is facing obstacles and is in danger of collapsing. Infrastructure is delayed, and land restitution is not progressing. Social leaders in charge of crops in their communities are affected – 340 have been killed since 2016.

New technology can bring economic growth to Colombia. One consequence is that the population are not qualified to contribute to the advancement of economies. The developing world is entering the fourth resolution. Violence from illicit crop and drug trafficking is affecting young people. Alternative development must bring the young people into the world of developmental technologies.

UNODC – Chief of Sustainable Livelihoods Unit (Afghanistan) – These efforts represent the ongoing efforts of the UNODC to keep promoting alternative development. UNODC aims to target the illicit cultivation of crops through alternative methods and the Sustainable Development Goals 2, 8 and 12.

Afghanistan is facing serious drought; in 2018 2.2 million people are in need of food assistance. Pushing agriculture down has wide ranging social consequences. UNODC aims to have a process that is Afghanistan owned and Afghanistan lead. Considerable expansion exists for the livestock sector; increasing this would add 274 million USD to the national GDP of Afghanistan. 1.6 million USD received from this program will target and strengthen the livelihood of farmers.

(Cut to a video of the program currently being implemented in Afghanistan)

UNODC – Colombia representative – Two years ago, the Colombian government signed a peace agreement; solving the illicit cultivation of drugs problem in Colombia is a key factor of this agreement. The involvement of the communities where they have been growing coca is key – people want to be part of the Colombian community. They want to develop a livelihood around licit activities; 90% of the farmers in Colombia have fully committed to comply with this program. As on October 2018, nearly 30,000 hectares of cocaine farms have been eradicated. The farmers receive technical assistance from the government and UNODC.

The production of cocaine in Colombia is significant and there is a link between conflict, illicit crop cultivation and drug production. Building peace in Colombia has to include the brining down of the illicit cultivation of crops and the trafficking of drugs out of the country. Other countries should consider how they can buy the licit products to support these farmers. Colombia needs that change in responsibility. Shared responsibility and the global response have to be something that we can all contribute to.

(Cut to a video from Myanmar)

(Cut to a video from Bolivia)

Chair. We are done with this segment. I would like to invite the remaining delegations who did not have a chance to speak to raise their flags.

Canada – Canada firmly believe that a comprehensive and evidence-based approach should be used. This strategy addresses four key pillars:

  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Enforcement
  • Harm Reduction

The supply reduction strategy includes devices that combat the illicit drug market. Another new development strategy from Canada addresses psychoactive substances; this amendment allows the Minister of Health to schedule any drug that poses a risk to public health and safety. We also encourage countries to submit NPS incidents.

The enforcement strategy targets manufacture and online distributors to target the illicit cultivation of drugs. This program enhances the relationship between national and international partners. The government of Canada recognizes law enforcement measures that address the world drug problem. Any judicial measurement needs to be proportioned. Canada supports the training of designations in substance abuse and harm reduction.

Colombia – With regard to supply reduction, Colombia would like to reiterate our commitment to effectively counter the world drug problem. For this there is a need to continue to work with the principles of the international community. It is our moral duty to address these problems. Colombia is a global leader for specialized skills and high technical abilities when it comes to the seizure and tackling the illicit cultivation of drugs. Last year the Colombian law enforcement jointly carried out 47 activities to fight against the world drug problem. 1500 police officers from neighboring countries have been trained. We will not abandon our effort against transnational organized crime. We are committed to defeating drug cartels and implementing production activities that break the supply chain for Narco structures. We believe this change should translate into an opportunity to strengthen the international community.

El Salvador – As part of our efforts to counter the illicit drug market the objective is to undertake activities that combat illicit drug cultivation, contraband and drug trafficking in our country. We are part of AIRCOP and have signed an MOU between the CNA and UNODC. This joint task force has been put together to work in the airports; in 2013 we enacted the law which governs asset forfeiture. We have agencies who oversee the disposure of seized goods. El Salvador works constantly to harmonize the legal framework around eliminating illegal impediments. These efforts include judicial assistance and extradition. Under the constitution the Supreme Court can resolve such proceedings. In the last 5 years 250 requests for judicial assistance from other countries have been carried out.

Morocco – Morocco has always taken a comprehensive multi-dimensional approach to combating the illicit drug market. Our work in line with the international standard can be seen in Morocco’s tireless effort to counter the illicit cultivation of drugs. The INCB reports indicate that Morocco is the second country in the world to eradicate illicit drug cultivation between 2015 and 2016. We still face challenges that we have to consider. We have 3000km worth of coastline that suffers from trafficking of cocaine and ecstasy. We have around 11,000 specialized agents deployed to fight these criminal networks. My delegation wants UNDOC to reflect, in the world drug report, the harmful risks of psychotropic substances.

The rate of cannabis is higher than that of other drugs. We have undertaken the seizure of vessels from Morocco to other nations. 40 million pills of tramadol, as well as other drugs have been seized by Moroccan law enforcement agents. The production of illicit crops in Europe must be address in the framework of common and shared responsibility.

USA. The UNODO 2018 report indicated an all time high in drug cultivation; the threats we now face are worse than ever. We have seen an increase in the use of cryptocurrencies being used to facilitate the illicit drug market. New drug trafficking modalities are making it extremely difficult for law enforcement and theses newly emerging threats are not replacing the traditional methods of trafficking heroin and cocaine. As a result, our job has become more complicated. This makes todays drug problem more difficult than ever. Effective coordination and information sharing between countries is a vital tool in tackling the world drug problem.

New legislative approaches to address the threat of these drugs. New national approaches are needed to help the law enforcement response to new psychoactive substances, with temporary measures, controls by class or type of drugs, prosecution of analogues, unauthorised substances controls, and customs laws. Second, we need coordinated task forces to bring together law enforcement forces. This model is useful because it brings together all agencies operating in different countries or regions with agreed targets. We need to build officers’ trust with communities, getting to know the neighbourhood, enabling the police to build stronger cases against security threats. This shows the US’ innovative response to the remaining challenges of the world drug problem. We should be looking at ways to adapt and we should work together to sustain international cooperation. We must enhance international controls, increase the identification of drugs and prevent them from entering criminal channels. We call on the WHO and ECDD to increase the rate of review of new substances. We recognise and applaud UNODC and INCB for their work to increase international cooperation to address the world drug problem, the identification of new synthetic drugs, etc. UNODC and INCB support member states in implementing the UN drug control conventions.

The 1988 will celebrate its 40th year and is directed against illicit drug trafficking. It is the 1988 convention that is our most important tool. We will continue to share platforms with UNODC and the INCB on new trends, and to prioritise new actions to dismantle international criminal networks. New challenges continue to emerge, we need to continue to share lessons learned.

Nigeria – We extend our appreciation to your team. We reiterate our belief that the 3 drug conventions are milestones to address drug related crime, and to the effective implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration, the 2014 Joint Ministerial Segment, and the UNGASS outcome document. These are complementary and mutually reinforcing. The peculiarities of drug related crimes are unique to each country. International cooperation is key to address drug related crime, including information sharing, mutual assistance.

We lend our voice to the call to strengthen international cooperation and address the global drug menace and its consequences. We have engaged in international initiatives which have enhanced international cooperation, and have responded to requests for mutual legal assistance, we are quick to respond to requests for information. We need innovative ways to strengthen border controls, import-export, and raise awareness of drug abuse. We note with concern the new trend in the use of adulterants in drug abuse. Drugs are now increasingly cut with adulterants, sometimes 10 different ones, with differences in purity. We reiterate our concern for lack of access to controlled medicines and analgesics.

We are grateful for the support of UNODC and the EU and other development partners. This will help us address the world drug problem.  

Austria – Madam Chair. The European Union and its Member States wish to thank you for organising this intersessional meeting in which we can share our best practices on the EU approach to alternative development in addressing the world drug problem.


Since last July, the EU is working on Council Conclusions on Alternative Development, called: “Towards a new Understanding of Alternative Development and Related Development- centred Drug Policy Interventions – Contributing to the Implementation of UNGASS 2016 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals”. The EU and its Member States consider alternative development as an important strategy to address the underlying root causes of illicit drug economies through an integrated approach, combining efforts of rural development, alleviation of poverty, promoting access to land and land rights, protection of the environment and climate change, promotion of rule of law, security and good governance in full respect of international human rights obligations and commitment to gender equality.


For the last decades, alternative development has brought new livelihood options to many individuals and communities. Our experience demonstrates that alternative development is a necessary element of a comprehensive approach to rural development in drug crop cultivation areas. Without the creation of alternative sources of income, any intervention to address illicit drug crop cultivation is condemned to fail. Therefore, the EU and its Member States have placed alternative development firmly on their drug policy agenda and would like to reiterate the importance of alternative development as a measure within comprehensive and balanced national and regional policies and programmes.


The EU is delighted that the UNGASS outcome document broadens the scope of alternative development, including for the first-time trafficking in drugs and urban drug markets as potential fields of development-oriented drug policy interventions. However, these innovations urgently require further research and debate in order to put those various elements into operation.


This call to incorporate alternative development into the broader agenda of the governments and into their balanced drugs and development strategies is also reflected in the EU Action Plan on Drugs for 2017 to 2020. The Action Plan aims at contributing to initiatives dedicated to reduce poverty, insecurity and vulnerability to the illicit drug economy by supporting sustainable, legal and gender sensitive livelihoods for people.


To achieve these objectives, the EU and its Member States have established an excellent cooperation with Latin American and Caribbean States on alternative development. The partnership was recently confirmed during the High-Level Meeting of the EU-CELAC Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism on Drugs held in June 2018. Namely, parties adopted the Sofia Declaration and reaffirmed the commitment to continue efforts in the context of long-term and sustainable development programmes to address the most pressing drug-related socioeconomic factors, including unemployment and social marginalization as well as environmental aspects. Parties also strongly supported the continuation of the activities under the Cooperation Programme between Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union on Drugs Policies – COPOLAD II.


This EU-funded programme promotes the elaboration of evidence-based policies on alternative development, as well as an effective intra-regional dialogue among CELAC countries working in this field. In order to achieve its goals, COPOLAD has been working continuously with partner governments, promoting the exchange of best practices, the facilitation of relevant instruments and methodologies for implementing alternative development, as well as south-south cooperation and learning. This includes the active participation of representatives of small-scale farmers associations and cooperatives.


Additionally, the EU Member States have funded and implemented bilateral alternative development projects in all relevant source countries for illicit plant-based drugs cultivation. Our efforts are an outstanding example of the principle of shared and common responsibility put into practice.


Last but not least, an important element leading to successful alternative development efforts is to ensure small scale farmers’ access to markets for their products. In order to contribute to increasing this access, the EU is applying the so-called “generalized scheme of preferences” (GSP+) since 2005. The GSP allows vulnerable developing countries to pay fewer or no duties on exports to the EU, giving them vital access to the EU market and contributing to their growth. This scheme offers preferential conditions for import of agricultural products into the EU including from countries exposed to the challenge of illicit crops production. It enhances the opportunities for more viable prices of legal agricultural products and may therefore, benefit the affected communities immediately.


Taken together, it is necessary to contribute to comprehensive and sustainable alternative development efforts on both a political and a financial level, with research and technical expertise and to provide licit day-to-day livelihood opportunities for the communities affected by illicit drug economies. However, donors should take account of local and regional circumstances, as well as the universal standards of human rights and principles of rule of law to be able to effectively design and implement the programmes that foster the development of peaceful, inclusive and just communities.


Italy – Italy fully aligns itself with the statements of the European Union. National data shows an increase in drug trafficking in Italy. Instead of using the ports in the south of Italy, which are controlled by law enforcement, traffickers are using alternative entry points.

Synthetic drugs deserve special attention. It can be assumed that in the coming years the opioid phase will pose a serious threat to law enforcement authorities in Italy. The initiative adopted by Ital will improve the knowledge of drug trafficking trends in Italy. In 2017, 90% of drug seizures at the border were intercepted. It is important to block drug consignments before they entre the destination countries. It is important to develop tools to combat this.

Italy recognises the principle role of CND and is ready to support member states in tackling the world drug problem. Italy believes that the three anti-drug conventions are the cornerstone of tackling the world drug problem. IT is important that the judicial and law enforcement agencies make full use of the tools provided to prevent organised crime.

Chair – There are some video messages on supply reduction left to show, but these will be shown in tomorrow’s session. The presentations of the panellists will be posted on the commissions website and the organisational segment will be held tomorrow.

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